Mullins' 5 hits lead Orioles to sweep of Red Sox; Zimmermann earns 1st win; Hays hurt - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Mullins’ 5 hits lead Orioles to sweep of Red Sox; Zimmermann earns 1st win; Hays hurt

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BOSTON—After the giddiness of a season-opening sweep of the Boston Red Sox, and starter Bruce Zimmermann’s first major league win, the Orioles were faced with the reality that outfielder Austin Hays was injured once again.

In the midst of a seven-run third inning, Hays, who had a two-run double, left the game with what the Orioles termed “right hamstring discomfort.”

Hays, who had a terrific spring training, has seen three straight years marred by injuries and was hoping that this would be the year he’d play through without major injury.

If the hamstring sends Hays to the injured list, outfielder Ryan McKenna, who is on the taxi squad, could fill in. The Orioles have just 12 position players. When Hays left the game, infielder Pat Valaika pinch-ran and then played left field.

“He’ll come in tomorrow, and we’ll see how he is,” Hyde said. Outfielder DJ Stewart is on the injured list because of a strained hamstring that he hurt on March 5th.

Hays’ injury tempered the Orioles’ 11-3 win over the Boston Red Sox before 4,458 at Fenway Park on Sunday. Their 3-0 start is their best since 2017 when they began 4-0. It was their first three-game sweep in Boston since August 25-27, 2017.

Cedric Mullins had five hits, a career-high, and four in the first four innings, an Oriole first. In the first three games, Mullins is hitting .692 (9-for-13) with a 1.637 OPS. Three of his hits were doubles.

“Guys have been playing with each other for a few years, and everything is just starting to click,” Mullins said.

Anthony Santander had three hits, and Trey Mancini and Rio Ruiz each had two as the Orioles produced 17 hits.

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“It was nice to see guys up and down the order contribute, starting off with the top three guys having 10 hits,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “You’re going to win more games than not when that happens.”

The Orioles haven’t had a home run this season, but it hasn’t mattered because of strong pitching and defense and clutch hitting.

“The bats woke up in a big way early in the game,” Hyde said. “Cedric Mullins set the table for us, all three of these games, making things happen, on base six times today, played great center field defense, doing everything extremely well. We had a lot of guys contribute offensively.”

The Orioles scored three runs in the first on an RBI single by Santander and a two-run double by third baseman Maikel Franco.

In the third, the Orioles scored seven times. Shortstop Freddy Galvis’ bases-loaded walk, Hays’ two-run double, a wild pitch, a two-run double by Mancini and an RBI single by Ryan Mountcastle gave the Orioles a 10-0 lead.

“We were able to put up a huge inning like that, and I know we’re capable of doing that many times over,” Mullins said. “It definitely gives our pitchers some leeway to attack the zone, give them some room to breathe, and that’s exactly what happened today.”

Santander’s RBI single in the ninth scored Mullins and accounted for their 11th run.

Zimmermann threw only 40 pitches in the first four innings, and 73 in six He allowed J.D. Martinez’s first home run, the first allowed by Orioles pitching this season, among his four hits. He struck out five and walked one and got to pitch with a big lead.

“It makes it a lot easier,” Zimmermann said. “My goal today was to go out and give my team a quality start. I was able to do that, and the win was a cherry on top. To watch the offense come alive like that was very encouraging.”

Zimmermann doesn’t think the team’s 3-0 start is a fluke.

“It’s just a great confidence booster for this team,” Zimmermann said. “I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people this year.”

Zimmermann, who went to many Orioles games growing up in Howard County, had never been to an opener until Friday.

“It was fantastic. It was kind of nice to get that third start because I was able to take in Opening Day, come down from that … It was an absolutely awesome experience to take that in and not have to worry about pitching as much.

“It was a really, really great weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.”

Reliever Cole Sulser threw two scoreless innings, and Rule 5 draft pick Tyler Wells pitched a scoreless ninth in his major league debut.

“I’m so encouraged by our pitching. We really threw the ball well all series,” Hyde said.

Now, the Orioles go to Yankee Stadium for three games beginning Monday night, but with a 3-0 record and a 1.67 ERA.

“It means we got off to a nice start, and we’ve got 159 more to go,” Hyde said.

Odds and ends: Relieft pitcher Shawn Armstrong was moved from the paternity list to the injured list. Armstrong, who was away from the club for the birth of his son, must go through the intake process before he rejoins the club … In the three-game series at Yankee Stadium, Jorge López will face Jordan Montgomery on Monday, Dean Kremer will face Gerrit Cole on Tuesday, and John Means will face Jameson Taillon on Wednesday. All three games are 6:35 p.m. starts.…  In each of Hyde’s three seasons, the Orioles have won their opening series …  Mullins’ five-hit game was the first by an Oriole since Mancini’s on September 24, 2019 against Toronto … The Orioles left 14 runners on base and struck out 15 times.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Icterus fan

    April 4, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    Fun stuff!

    At least Hays walked off the field rather nonchalantly. Hopefully he’s not injured too badly. Hamstrings can be bothersome. I hope he’s not turning out to be “injury prone”. Great player; lots of enthusiasm.

    Zimmerman has some nasty downward break and tremendous spin on the ball, bouncing quite a few off the plate and keeping Sisco busy defensively. Kept the ball down consistently.

    O’s playing small ball with opposite field hits, doubles, hustling down the line and piling up the hits despite no home runs yet. Interesting.

    Mancini caught a blooper at full extension. Tremendous glove there.

    Bullpen performed well too – Sulser was effective and the rookie Wells showed composure despite guaranteed first game jitters.

    Let’s keep this momentum as we head into NYC where the competition will be stronger.

  2. Eastern Sho Joe

    April 4, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Rich, I’m glad you noted that the Os have won all 3 of the opening series under Hyde, I’ve been thinking this all weekend to ensure I don’t get my hopes up. lol.

    Some other writers and announcers this afternoon have been hyping this series win up a little too much, IMO. Either way, it is nice anytime we sweep Boston.

    Incidentally, this was the 1st year under Hyde that we won the first game and swept the series.

    Here’s to Hayes’ hamstring being nothing serious, I’m sure the cold didn’t help none.

    Anyway, I for one am happy with the start of 2021, and you never know… “Something magic happens…”

  3. Bhoffman1

    April 4, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    Does Hayes just play too hard or is he just plain injury prone by doing stupid moves. I said a few weeks ago quoting Mountcastle that this team can be a offensive force. What’s with that man Sisco. He finally gets a hit then strikes out four times in a row. Either it’s mental or he’s not a viable major league player

  4. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    April 4, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Nice series sweep of the Red Sox. The Orioles continued their good pitching, timely hitting, and solid defense. Hopefully Hayes doesn’t need to go on the injured list. He’s had a tough time with injuries over his career.

  5. Orial

    April 4, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    Tempered is the right word concerning the sweep and Hays injury. It may be a little early to say but with his style of play he is quickly becoming the “heart and soul” of this team. But these injuries–my God. Would love to hear talk radio now in Boston. No more Tom Brady now this mess. Lastly let’s not forget what we’re witnessing before our eyes–Cedric Mullins. The second coming of Lou Brock? I know,I know control.myself. Love it all(minus Mr.
    Hays).

    • CalsPals

      April 4, 2021 at 8:19 pm

      Physically Mullins reminds me of Bip Roberts…he’s awful fun to watch…go O’s…

  6. PilarcikTriandos

    April 4, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Paul Blair, Al Bumbry, Cedric Mullins … look out AL East. Look at how each started. This team will surprise.

    • dlgruber1

      April 4, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      I’d be thrilled if you’re correct but I gotta say, Boston looks like they’re in for a long season. The real test starts tomorrow. However, I’m certainly gonna enjoy this while it lasts.

  7. Hallbe62

    April 4, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Nice start Birds ! On to NY

  8. dlgruber1

    April 4, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    I’ll tell you what I found very impressive, and reassuring. Hyde went with the same lineup all 3 games with the only change being Sisco replacing Severino for the final game, which was expected. One of the signs of a good team is a consistency in the lineup. I know it’s only the first 3 games but still, that was good to see that.

    • 33d St

      April 5, 2021 at 6:28 am

      Well with a 3 man bench there ain’t gonna be a lot of variety! 🙂

  9. willmiranda

    April 4, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    And Still Undefeated!!!!!!!!

  10. DcOsfan

    April 4, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    Great way to start. Two real positives for me. Only 1 error in three games and no runs allowed by the bullpen.

  11. johninbethany

    April 4, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    What a surprise. I hope that we can continue the momentum and have a modest level of success this year. I pray that Elias will not break our hearts at the trade deadline and trade away anybody with value because he doesn’t think it’s time yet to care about wins.

  12. Kjbsball

    April 5, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    Not terribly important but I was surprised to see wells, a lifetime starter, pitching out of the stretch with the bases empty. There are better baseball minds on here than me, what would be the reason for this?
    (On a separate note, Mullins looks so much more calm and confident having switched to strictly lefty. What a great surprise and start!)

    • CalsPals

      April 5, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      I’m guessing comfort at that point…go O’s…

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